By Soni Ajala
Awa Kalu commands commendable followership both as a lawyer, a law teacher, a jurist, an administrator and a technocrat. This probably is because of his forthrightness, sense of humour, humility, candour, loyalty to friends and unique style of leadership which is rooted in competence, genuine concern for others, admirable character and team spirit. He preaches and practices teamwork and collectivist aspiration for excellence.
Awa Kalu, SAN belongs to the very colourful ‘1978 set of Nigerian Law School that has been admirably celebrated and indeed described as “able generation of lawyers” of uncommon excellence. This very amazing ‘1978 set is reputed to have produced the three serving Justices of the Supreme Court; about nine Justices of the Court of Appeal; four past NBA presidents; three past Attorneys-General of the Federation; about 20 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, a Deputy President of the Senate, a serving Chair of the African Commission on Peoples and Human Rights; Senior Civil Servants, etc. What an illustrious legacy!
As the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Government of Abia State between May 1999 till 2005, Awa Kalu repositioned the administration of justice in the state for greater efficiency. He consistently and courageously led the state team in many legal battles challenging one perceived constitutional infraction or the other that enriched the jurisprudence of our Laws as well as advanced the institutions of democracy.
As a community leader, he has awarded numerous scholarships to deserving indigent students from his Ohafia community. In recognition of his unflinching willingness to contribute meaningfully to his community, Awa Kalu was honoured with the chieftaincy title of Onochie 1 of Ania Ohafia in 1993.
The attainment of the age of 60 years by our teacher, mentor and friend, Awa Kalu, calls for celebration on account of his outstanding achievements and contribution to legal education and character profiling of generation of Lawyers in particular and several youths that their paths crossed his.
For his ex-students, his friends, his admirers and well wishers, we take immense pride in holding out the splendid torch of knowledge, competence, ethical uprightness, fibre of integrity and selfless service that are the hallmark of Awa Kalu, Senior Advocate of Nigeria as he celebrates the attainment of the age of 60 years today.
We pray God to keep and sustain Awa Ume Kalu, SAN a treasured diamond at 60. Happy Birthday, our beloved teacher and friend.
Dr. Soni Ajala, A Legal Practitioner writes from Abuja